Carmelaram Theology College (CTC) is the scholasticate of the Malabar Province of the Order of Discalced Carmelites (OCD), situated in the Diocese of Mandya. Carmelaram is a study and formation centre, where a good number of Christian Institutions are functioning. Among these Institutions Carmelaram Theology College and Adhyatma Vidya Peetham (AVP) are the pioneering centers for higher learning in theology and spirituality.
The history of Carmelaram Theology College is very much intertwined with the history of the Carmelite theological studies in India. It is worth mentioning that the first Carmelite theological study house was functioning in Goa in the seventeenth century, where Bl. Dionysius, one of the proto-martyrs of the Carmelite Order studied. Among its staff, was the eminent Fr. Philip of the Blessed Trinity, a classical author in mystical theology who later became Superior General of the Order. Though the Carmelites were instrumental in the founding of the seminary at Varapuzha which was later shifted to Puthenpally and then to Alwaye for the formation of the local clergy, it was only on April 9, 1932 that the General Definitory of the Order granted permission to start a theology college for the indigenous Carmelites at Carmel Hill, Trivandrum.
The Carmelite missionaries of the Flanders Province, Belgium, had given their residence at Thuckalay in Tamilnadu, to the indigenous Carmelites in 1929. Later the theology college was shifted from Trivandrum to this residence on December 15, 1933. It was by the initiative of the late Archbishop Aloysius Maria Benziger, a very zealous Carmelite missionary and Bishop of Quilon, to shift the theology college to the monastery at Thuckalay. In 1947, the monastery of Thuckalay was made novitiate house and Carmel Hill, Trivandrum became the centre for philosophical and theological studies once again. The theologate was functioning in Carmel Hill until it was shifted to Bangalore in 1971.
The foundation stone of Carmelaram Theology College was laid by Most Rev. D. Simon Lourdsamy, the then Archbishop of Bangalore on 19 th January, 1969. The theologate was blessed on November 21, 1971 by Msgr. William D’Mello, the then Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of Bangalore. Since then basic course in theology is given in Carmelaram Theology College. A one-year diploma course in spirituality at AdhyatmaVidyaPeetham began in 1976 and it was officially inaugurated on December 11, 1976 by Most Rev. Antony Padiyara, the then Metropolitan Archbishop of Changanacherry and Vice-President of C.B.C.I. In 1980, this Institute was affiliated to Teresianum, Pontifical Institute of Spirituality and Anthropology, Rome.
Carmelaram Theology College became affiliated to Dharmaram Vidya Kshetram (DVK), Pontifical Athenaeum of Philosophy, Theology and Canon Law, Bangalore, by the Decree of the Congregation for the Catholic Education issued on August 25, 1989. The first batch of graduates came out in January 1990. In 2008 the Congregation for the Catholic Education has further extended the term of the affiliation until 2018. In this centre of theological studies, besides the students from the Discalced Carmelites (OCD) of Malabar, Delhi and Andhra Provinces, there are also students from the Rosarian Congregation (CR), Poor Servants of the Divine Providence (PSDP), the Missionaries of the Mary Immaculate (MMI) and Clerics Regular of St. Paul (CRSP), the Bernabites, who do their basic theology course. Besides these, Sisters from different Congregations (SSH, SJ, FMSH, OSL, CJ, SCB) do their MA Theology (of Christ University, Bangalore) in our College.
The formation programme of the Carmelaram Theology College is aimed at theassimilation and explanation of the Catholic faith in line with the spiritual tradition of the greatdoctors of the Church, especially St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross and St. Thérèse of Lisieux, belonging to the Carmelite family. The Holy Father, Pope Francis has emphasizedfirmly the love in which those who are Priests of Christ and of the Church must participate. Inhis homily at his first Chrism Mass (28 March 2013), Pope Francis said “This I ask you: beshepherds, with the ‘odour of the sheep”. By this striking image, the Successor of Peter invites usto have a strong and solid love for the People of God, a love which – as the same Pontiff hasnoted – is not fed from purely human sources, nor is it reinforced by techniques of self-persuasion. It is the personal encounter with the Lord; it is keeping alive the knowledge ofhaving been called by Him, who gives the truly greater supernatural strength to be Priests in theimage of the Good Shepherd of all, Christ Jesus. But in order to be such tomorrow, you have toprepare yourselves today (Letter to Seminarians by Mauro Cardinal Piacenza(Prefect, Congregation for the Clergy) on the occasion of the day for the sanctification of priests,7th June 2013. As Pope Francis has emphasized, the future shepherds of Christ must formthemselves in sound knowledge of Jesus Christ, The Shepherd. The theology formation guidesone to this aim.